Goa Power Minister Nilesh Cabral and his Delhi counterpart Satyendar Jain on Monday had a much anticipated public face-off over the virtues of the power tariff structures in place in the two states.
The public debate between the two ruling politicians took place in Panaji, more than a week after Cabral challenged the Aam Aadmi Party — which is gearing up for a high visibility election campaign ahead of the 2022 polls and which has promised free 300 units of power for domestic connections, as well as uninterrupted 24×7 power supply, if the party comes to power.
During the debate Jain said that the free 300 power units would serve as a boon to nearly 87 per cent households in Goa.
“Nearly 87 per cent households consume less than 300 units of electricity. The announcement made by the AAP will benefit all these households. They will get a zero bill,” Jain said.
Cabral however contended that there are no free lunches and that if power is given free of cost or at a highly subsidised rate, then a government would invariably tax the taxpayer through other channels.
“Nothing is free in this world. Whatever they are providing for the people of Delhi is taken from the taxpayers of Delhi and besides, their government’s borrowings run into crores of rupees,” Cabral said.
The Goa Power Minister also said that private power distribution companies in the national capital were indirectly benefited by the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led government.
Cabral also said that the tariff structure in Goa was unique and the power rates in the coastal state were already low compared to the national average.
“Here, the Goa government is itself the distributor and we have kept rates low. Our power tariff, no matter how many units one uses, doesn’t go beyond Rs four per unit for the consumer. In Delhi, if you cross 200 hundred units, even after the subsidy from the government, the rate is higher than what is paid for the same number of units in Goa,” Cabral shot back.
This is the second time that tariff structures in the two states, have triggered rhetoric between leaders of two political parties.
In November last year, Cabral and AAP MLA and Delhi Jal Board vice chairman Raghav Chaddha had also raised hype about a debate over the power tariffs in their respective states.